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Why leading a compliance program is like going to the gym
by Margaret C. Scavotto, JD, CHC
President at Management Performance Associates in St. Louis, MO
Leading a compliance program is like going to the gym. You don't set up a gym in your basement, try out the treadmill, do
ten sit ups, cross the gym off your list, and never
go back. To thrive, your body needs you to go to
the gym regularly. You might modify your gym
routine, but to be healthy, it takes continuous
work. An Olympian who quits the gym and never
goes back will become out of shape.
Just ask Olympic gymnast Simone
Biles. In 2016, Biles took home 10 gold
medals, two silver medals, two bronze
medals, and a Nike sponsorship. Here is
her daily routine:
“I have practice from 9 a.m. to 12
p.m. and… 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and usually
have more routines. After that, I either
have therapy at the gym or at home, and… do it
all again the next day.” http://bit.ly/2FJavFS
Six hours at the gym. That’s commitment — day in, and day out.
Compliance is the same: You cannot have an
effective program without continuous work.
Do you know any compliance officers who
bought a compliance binder online? Or printed
out policy templates, 3-hole-punched them, and
put them in a binder titled “COMPLIANCE?” Are
those binders stuck on a cobwebbed shelf? We
call this the “Abandoned Home Gym Compliance
Program.” Without training, audits, communica-
tion, and updates, a “binder” compliance program
is not effective — even if the binder’s contents are
Compliance takes work (don’t worry, even
Simone gets days off). This applies to a new
compliance program, and to a sophisticated,
"Olympic” level program.
What’s the difference between an Abandoned
Home Gym Compliance Program, and an
Olympic one? A routine. Borrow from Simone
Biles’ playbook and put together a compliance
routine. Let’s take compliance training as an
example. If you are trying to move beyond the
abandoned home gym, you might be doing
annual employee compliance training — or no
training. Here’s a sample compliance training
· Yearly: Train employees, contractors, and the
board. Attend a compliance conference to keep
up your expertise. Hold a Compliance Week.
· Quarterly: Train staff on compliance risk areas.
· Monthly: Post compliance reminders.
· Weekly: Send compliance news to your
· Daily: Read compliance enforcement and headlines. Keep a list of issues to share with staff.
These examples are a starting point, and
soon your list will grow. But if you follow a
routine and give your compliance program a
regular workout, you can achieve medal-worthy